Belfast Telegraph

Man with 'limited understanding' on hoax bomb alert charges

By Chris Kilpatrick

A man charged with carrying out a string of hoax bomb alerts is of “limited understanding”, a court has been told.

Stephen Derek McCook is charged with two counts of placing items which caused bomb alerts on two separate occasions.

The 20-year-old is accused of placing the suspect items at property on Conagher Road, just outside Ballymoney, Co Antrim, in February 2009 and again in June of that year.

McCook, who lives in the vicinity of where the items were left, is also charged with six counts of providing police with false information regarding bombs being placed at the same address.

He is accused of making the false claims on dates from February 2009 until January 2012.

McCook, who is unemployed, failed to attend court in Coleraine yesterday.

His solicitor requested the case be adjourned, which was agreed to by District Judge Richard Wilson.

The solicitor said her client was of “limited understanding”, adding she was awaiting the outcome of a report on McCook from education authorities.

“They are quite serious matters your worship,” she said.

“They are,” replied Mr Wilson.

Details of why the properties may have been targeted were not disclosed in court yesterday.

McCook’s Conagher Road family home has been attacked on several occasions in recent years, including a petrol bombing in October 2011.

The most recent incident happened last October when the front window was smashed and ‘out’ daubed in red paint on a side wall of the house.

“We have no idea why this is happening, but we want it to stop,” a member of the family said at the time.

“We will not be intimidated by the thugs who carried out this attack.

“We heard a car moving away at speed and we think whoever did it clambered over a wall at the front of the house and also from the side.’’

There was no suggestion in court that McCook had any involvement in those attacks or if they are linked in any way to the charges he faces.

He is set to appear in court in February.

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